Baltimore(BWI) Airport Sleep Pods [Minute Suites] Guide

The installation of Minute Suites at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) provides a welcome solution for travelers facing layovers or delayed flights. These innovative sleep pods offer a convenient and comfortable option for rest and relaxation during your time at the airport.

In this guide, I’ve included information about additional free rest areas at this airport for those seeking a place to sleep, as there are no designated sleep zones. The other good news aside from sleep pods is that there are several hotels near BWI that offer complimentary shuttles, some even include free breakfast options.

BWI Airport is among the 3 airports that serve the Washington D.C. metropolitan area with the others being Dulles and Ronald Reagan Airports. BWI’s Sleep Score is about 5 points ahead of Dulles’ 45.5/100 and Dulles poor rating is partly contributed by the permanent closure of SleepBoxes.

Does BWI Have Sleep Pods?

Yes, BWI Airport has installed 5 sleep pods by Minute Suites. As per Minute Suites blog back from 2019, BWI installed 5 units of sleep suites which are compact alternatives to the smaller capsule-design sleep pods such as those designed by GoSleep.

BWI doesn’t have the capsule-like sleep pods using visor-shade technology that blocks out light, however the suites by Minute Suites are actually better. They feature a private room with a daybed couch, workstation and entertainment options such as TV channels and internet. The suites can be rented by the hour or overnight.

BWI Airport's Management Announces that Minute Suites to open at BWI Airport
Snapshot from BWI blog(July 2019) announcing opening of Minute Suites at BWI. Read full BWI blog here

It took about 15 months to construct the Minute Suites’ nap pods and on October 1, 2020, BWI and Minute Suites jointly announced the official launch of the sleep rooms at BWI. Below is the snapshot from BWI’s Airport Press release;

Snapshot from BWI Blog announcing launch of Minute Suites in Oct 2020
Snapshot from BWI Blog announcing launch of Minute Suites in Oct 2020. Read full blog here.

Check out other airports with capsule hotels such as Dallas Forth Worth Airport(Minute Suites), San Francisco Airport(Nap Pods), Philadelphia Airport(Minute Suites), Haneda Airport(First-Cabin, Japan), Vienna Airport(ZZZleepandGo), Mexico City Airport(Izzzleep), Changi(multiple pod brands), Hamad Airport(Sleep n Fly), Dubai Airport(Sleep n Fly) and JFK Airport(Minute Suites).

Note that some sleep pods such as Dublin Sleep Pods are Free, so is Beijing GoSleep Pods.

And nursing pods too!

Though unrelated to sleep, I thought I could add some info on innovative nursing solutions at BWI too.

Aside from sleep pods, BWI has also embrace innovative nursing solution by Mamava which is the same concept of providing privacy solution to breastfeeding mothers. As per BWI’s website, private nursing rooms can be found near Gates A12, B3, C2, C9, D11, D23, and E6. Additionally, Mamava lactation stations are conveniently located near Gate D4 and in the Children’s Play Area in the D/E Connector.

Minute Suites at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport:

Minute Suites’ innovative suites offer a sanctuary where passengers can relax, sleep, work, or simply enjoy a moment of quiet amidst their travels.

Designed to meet the needs of modern travelers, each suite features comfortable seating that transforms into a bed, a personal entertainment system, and access to Wi-Fi, making it an ideal spot for those looking to recharge between flights or wait out a layover in comfort and privacy.

Image of Minute Suites at BWI
Image of Minute Suites at BWI. Credit: Priority pass

Amenities:

  • Transforming sofa-bed
  • Sound masking system
  • Personal thermostat
  • Temporary office space
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Free Smart TV access
  • Spacious rooms for 2-4 adults
  • Disabled access
  • Smoke-free environment
  • Air conditioning
  • Flight information tracker
  • Fax services

Note that there are no shower facilities at BWI’s Minute Suites

Location:

The Suites by Minute Suites can be found in Concourse C, near Gate C3, at BWI Airport. To enter, you’ll need a boarding pass for Concourse A, B, or C, as your flight must either depart from or arrive at one of these concourses.

How to Book Minute Suites

Cost:

The cost of a Minute Suite starts at $55 for the initial hour, with the rate going up by $13.75 for each additional 15-minute increment. While a one-hour minimum booking is required, travelers have the option of securing the suite for a period of 1 to 8 hours with the 8-hour block being priced at $380. For Priority Pass members, there’s a special perk: the first hour is complimentary, but subsequent 15-minute periods are charged at $8.50 each which you’ll need to pay out of pocket.

Where to Sleep at BWI Airport – 6 Best Alternative Places to Sleep

While Minute Suites offers a paid dedicated sleeping solution, there are several alternative spots that are free within BWI Airport’s terminals where you can catch some rest. Based on traveler experiences, here are some recommended locations:

Airplay Zone in Terminal D

  • Pros: Soft benches and very soft floors, designed as a kid play zone.
  • Cons: Bright lights, constant music, and a recorded welcome message that doesn’t turn off.
  • Sleep Insight: This area provides comfortable flooring and benches, making it a suitable spot for a short nap despite the light and noise.

Concourse A, B, and C

  • Pros: Food available late.
  • Cons: Cold temperatures, loud environment, limited space, and no armrest-free benches.
  • Sleep Insight: These concourses are less ideal for sleep due to the lack of suitable sleeping spaces and the overall noise and cold. It’s recommended to explore other areas or consider nearby hotels for better rest.

Concourse C

  • Pros: Padded benches with no armrests and phone charging ports underneath.
  • Cons: Bright lights, cold air conditioning, and cleaning crews working overnight.
  • Sleep Insight: This area is a good option if you come prepared with earplugs and a blanket. The padded benches and charging ports make it one of the more comfortable spots.

Near Dunkin Donuts on the Second Floor

  • Pros: Rows of chairs without armrests and access to power outlets.
  • Cons: Construction noise at night.
  • Sleep Insight: This spot offers a decent place to lie down and charge your devices. However, be prepared for potential noise from ongoing construction.

Terminal D Chairs

  • Pros: Flat chairs with no armrests and charging stations.
  • Cons: Security reopens early, potential disruptions from cleaning and alarm testing.
  • Sleep Insight: Chairs near gates C3 and C5 in Terminal D provide a comfortable sleeping surface with charging stations. Be aware of potential interruptions during alarm tests and cleaning times.

Warm Vents in Main Terminal

  • Pros: Warm air from vents provides some comfort.
  • Cons: Limited space and security closures restrict movement.
  • Sleep Insight: If you’re seeking warmth, the marble slabs with vented grates in the main terminal offer a unique spot. It’s not the most comfortable, but the warm air can be a relief on colder nights.

These alternatives provide various options depending on your specific needs for comfort, warmth, and accessibility. For the best experience, come prepared with basic sleep aids like earplugs, eye masks, and a blanket.

Avoid these 4 Spots for Sleep

  1. Concourses A, or B: Mentioned as having “zero armrest-free benches,” and being super cold due to air conditioning, making it nearly impossible to get any sleep. Loud employees talking all night further exacerbated the discomfort.
  2. Landside: Identified as an area where homeless people reside, making it feel unsafe for a reviewer who chose not to sleep there. The review notes that this is not a good airport for conducive sleep overnight due to ongoing issues with safety and homelessness.
  3. Main Terminal: A flyer recounted being constantly asked to leave, leading to an unsuccessful attempt at napping due to perceived hostility and discrimination.
  4. General Seating Areas in Concourse C: Despite identifying flat chairs without armrests as a potential sleeping spot, one traveler mentioned alarm testing at 2 am as a significant disturbance, implying that sleep was difficult if not impossible during their stay.

Reviews of Sleep Quality at BWI:

Pros:

  1. Airplay Zone in Terminal D: One flyer found the soft benches and floors in this area comfortable for a quick nap, highlighting it as a kid-friendly zone. This indicates a positive experience within a specific part of BWI Airport.
  2. Food Options: A traveler appreciated the availability of real food options like sandwiches and hard-boiled eggs from a vending machine in Concourse A6-16 during an overnight stay, suggesting satisfaction with the food amenities.
  3. Cleanliness: Despite some negative feedback, one review mentioned clean restrooms as a pro, indicating at least some parts of the airport maintain good hygiene standards.
  4. Efforts to Accommodate Sleep: While not outright praise, the mention of areas with flat chairs without armrests and the presence of charging stations near certain gates shows BWI makes some effort to accommodate travelers looking to rest.
  5. Warm Vents: A traveler found warmth and comfort sleeping near vented areas, showing that even in less conventional ways, BWI provided a spot where someone could find rest.

Cons:

  1. Concourses A, and B: Flyers reported an uncomfortable environment due to cold temperatures from air conditioning, lack of armrest-free benches for sleeping, and noise from employees talking throughout the night.
  2. Main Terminal: One reviewer had a particularly negative experience, mentioning they were constantly asked to leave, implying a lack of hospitality or understanding from the airport staff towards those needing to rest.
  3. Landside Area: This area was described as feeling unsafe and overrun by homeless people, with one traveler noting they did not feel secure enough to sleep there. Additionally, police were reported to have intervened around 11:00 PM.
  4. USO Lounge: A military traveler criticized the lounge’s sleeping accommodations, specifically the chairs, for being uncomfortable, indicating dissatisfaction with the facilities provided for service members.
  5. Bathrooms in Terminal A: Were described as not clean or well-equipped, pointing towards concerns about hygiene and maintenance.
  6. Sleeping Attempts Near Dunkin Donuts on the 2nd Floor: Although not explicitly negative towards the location, the mention of all-night construction noise indicates a less-than-ideal sleeping situation.
  7. Noise: Noise complaints at BWI highlight challenges in finding quiet rest due to loud employees, nighttime cleaning operations, all-night construction, and unexpected safety alarm tests.


5 Recommendations for Sleeping at this Airport:

  1. For a short nap, the Airplay Zone in Terminal D offers soft floors and benches, though it may not be quiet.
  2. For overnight stays, consider avoiding terminals A, and B due to discomfort and noise. Instead, seek out specific spots mentioned above, such as Concourse C with armrest benches, near Dunkin Donuts on the 2nd floor for armrest-free chairs or the vents in the areas across security for warmth. Concourse D and E also have padded benches for overnight sleep.
  3. If you plan on sleeping at Minute Suites, make sure you check-in and are in the airside before the airport’s TSA check-in closes for the night. To access Minute Suites, you’ll need a boarding pass for Concourse A, B or C.
  4. Prepare for conditions by bringing a neck pillow, thin blanket, eye mask, and earplugs to improve comfort and block out light and noise.
  5. Keep in mind the airport’s limitations for overnight stays, including safety concerns and the presence of homeless individuals. Exploring nearby hotel options might provide a more reliable and comfortable alternative.

Hotels Near BWI Airport as Alternatives to Sleep Pods:

Hotels Near Baltimore Airport with Free Shuttle:

Aloft BWI Baltimore Washington International Airport

  • Vibe: Modern and youthful with vibrant social spaces.
  • Amenities: Offers a fitness center, indoor pool, and free airport shuttle service.
  • Location: Conveniently close to BWI, suitable for late arrivals or early departures.
  • Check Rates

BWI Airport Marriott

  • Features: Upscale accommodations with dining options on-site.
  • Amenities: Includes a fitness center, pool, and meeting/event spaces.
  • Special: Offers a complimentary shuttle to BWI Airport.

Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, BWI Airport

  • Atmosphere: Cozy and welcoming, ideal for families and business travelers.
  • Amenities: Free Wi-Fi, hot breakfast included, fitness center, and shuttle service.
  • Location: Close to the airport, offering easy access for flights – only 0.7 miles from Airport
  • Rating: Rated very highly – 4.5/5 by 1093 reviews
  • Check Rates

Courtyard by Marriott Baltimore BWI Airport

  • Features: Contemporary rooms with workspaces, perfect for business travelers.
  • Amenities: Fitness center, on-site dining, and free airport shuttle.
  • Perks: Spacious rooms and Starbucks coffee available.
  • Check Rates

Hilton Baltimore BWI Airport

  • Luxury: Upscale amenities and elegant rooms.
  • Features: Fitness center, indoor pool, and dining options.
  • Convenience: Shuttle service to BWI, making it perfect for travelers.
  • Check Rates

Holiday Inn Baltimore BWI Airport, an IHG Hotel

  • Comfort: Comfortable rooms with a focus on relaxation.
  • Amenities: Fitness center, on-site dining, and free parking.
  • Special Feature: Proximity to BWI with a complimentary shuttle service.
  • Check Rates

La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham Baltimore BWI Airport

  • Value: Affordable rates with comfortable accommodations.
  • Amenities: Includes free breakfast, Wi-Fi, and airport shuttle.
  • Pets: Pet-friendly, welcoming travelers with pets at no extra charge.
  • Check Rates

Red Roof PLUS+ Baltimore – Washington DC/BWI Airport

  • Budget-friendly: Offers basic, clean rooms at a great price.
  • Perks: Free Wi-Fi and pet-friendly policies.
  • Convenience: Free airport shuttle and close proximity to BWI.
  • Check Rates

Wingate by Wyndham Baltimore BWI Airport

  • Business-Focused: With ample workspace and free Wi-Fi, ideal for business travelers.
  • Amenities: Complimentary breakfast, fitness center, and shuttle service to BWI.
  • Comfort: Spacious rooms designed for relaxation and work.
  • Check rates

BWI Airport ZZZ/Sleep Score is Average(50/100)

Sleep Accommodations (20.5/37.5 Points)

  • Innovative Sleep Technology (Pods/Suites): 8/8 points. BWI has sleep pods by Minute Suites within the airport.
  • In-Airport Hotel: 0/7 points. No in-airport hotel is available for direct access.
  • Hotels with Free Shuttle Service: 5/5 points. Numerous nearby hotels offer complimentary shuttle services to and from the airport.
  • Designated Rest Zones: 0/5 points. No rest zones at BWI
  • At Least One Identified Sleeping Spot in Each Terminal: 2/5 points. Few spots but limited
  • Ease of Access to Free Sleeping Spots: 3/5 points. Certain accessible areas for resting, such as the Airplay Zone, are noted.
  • Access to Day-rooms in Airport Hotels or by Nearby Hotels: 2.5/2.5 points. There are more than 5 day-use hotels that you can book from 6 am to 7pm. Some of the best options include Tru by Hilton in Baltimore Harbor East, Candlewood Suites by IHG, Admiral Fell Inn, Best Western Hotel Plus, and Holiday Express Inn at Towson.

Seating and Space Availability (7/10 Points)

  • Armrest-Free Chairs: 2/5 points. Complaints specifically mention the absence of armrest-free benches for comfortable sleeping.
  • Availability of Seating Spaces: 5/5 points. Seating appears to be available, though not tailored for sleeping comfort.

Ambient Environment for Sleep (2/15 Points)

  • Lighting: 2/8 points. One review noted that lights were super bright even at night. Few spots are dim
  • Sound Level at Night: 0/7 points. The noise from various sources, including announcements and cleaning operations, is a noted issue. Worth noting that at some point there was construction that caused a lot of noise pollution. Another review, however, noted that it was “impossible to get any sleep here… Loud employees talking all night.”

Operating Hours and Accessibility (10/15 Points)

  • 24/7 Operation: 3/5 points. BWI is open around the clock, allowing for overnight stays, although you must have a boarding pass to remain overnight. Ticketing and TSA check-in are temporarily unavailable after closing at approximately 11 PM, resuming operations at 4 AM.
  • Ease of Overnight Stay: 2/5 points. Reviews suggest difficulties and discomfort with overnight stays. Some reviews noted their experiences of being asked to leave and the limited access to comfortable resting spots in Main Terminal and Concourse C. Another flier noted that the presence of homeless individuals and an overall sense of insecurity, discourages comfortable overnight sleep at BWI.
  • Wheelchair Access: 5/5 points. Assuming BWI meets standard accessibility features, though not directly addressed in the reviews.

Amenities (10.5/22.5 Points)

  • Cleanliness: 1/3 points. Cleanliness receives mixed reviews, with some areas noted as well-maintained. Bathrooms in Concourse A are described as not clean or well-equipped, indicating concerns over the maintenance and hygiene standards of restroom facilities
  • Security: 0/3 points. Safety concerns are evident, especially regarding the presence of homeless individuals.
  • Wi-Fi and Charging Stations: 3/3 points. Basic amenities like Wi-Fi and charging stations are assumed to be provided.
  • Food and Beverage: 3/3 points. The presence of food options, including vending machines, is acknowledged. A traveler highlighted that one advantage of staying in Terminal A was the availability of food late at night, despite other discomforts like cold temperatures and noise. This suggests that some restaurants or food services operate beyond standard hours, catering to late travelers or those staying overnight. Another review appreciated the presence of a Wellfound Foods Vending Machine in Concourse A6-16, which offered real food options like sandwiches and hard-boiled eggs.
  • Shower Amenities: 0/3 points. There are no public showere facilities at BWI and no there are no lounges offering it at a fee.
  • Pay-Per-Use Lounge: 2.5/2.5 points. The Club BWI Lounge is accessible with a $45 day pass that you can pay at the door. USO Lounge is not accessible to non-military persons.
  • Luggage Storage Facilities: 0/2.5 points. There are no luggage storage facilities at BWI. On its website, it says that “There are no lockers at BWI Marshall Airport for luggage storage. All airport baggage storage has been suspended by order of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).”
  • Access to Smoking Areas: 1/2.5 points. BWI Marshall Airport enforces a strict non-smoking policy throughout its Concourses. Smoking is only allowed in specific designated areas outside the Main Terminal and outside the Concourses, which are located on the outer curb’s center island of both the upper and lower level roadways outside the terminal. All other areas within the airport strictly prohibit smoking.
  • Transport(bonus): A standout feature of BWI is the easy access to light rail directly from its terminals. There’s a free shuttle bus that links the airport with the Amtrak station, located just 1 mile away. Additionally, the MTA Light Rail has a station right next to Concourse E (the international concourse). The trains run often, from 6am to 11pm on weekdays, and have a reduced schedule on Saturdays and Sundays.

Total BWI Sleep Score: 50/100

  • Sleep Accommodations: 20.5/37.5
  • Seating and Space Availability: 7/10
  • Ambient Environment for Sleep: 2/15
  • Operating Hours and Accessibility: 10/15
  • Amenities: 10.5/22.5
  • Overall Total Score: 50/100

Closing Remark on BWI Sleep and Nap Pods:

BWI Airport presents a mixed bag when it comes to accommodating travelers looking for rest or overnight stays, earning a total ZZZ/Sleep Score of 50 out of 100. While BWI excels in certain areas, such as the availability of sleep pods by Minute Suites and a variety of day-use hotels with shuttle services, it falls short in others.

The presence of sleep pods within the airport itself is a significant positive, offering travelers innovative sleep technology options. However, the absence of an in-airport hotel and designated rest zones detracts from the overall sleep accommodations score. The limited number of identified sleeping spots in each terminal and only partial ease of access to these spots further impacts the airport’s ability to cater to travelers seeking rest.

In terms of seating and space availability, BWI has ample seating spaces, but the lack of armrest-free chairs limits comfortable sleeping options. The ambient environment for sleep is notably poor, with bright lighting and significant noise levels from announcements, cleaning operations, and construction making it difficult for travelers to find peaceful rest.

Operating hours and accessibility offer some positives, with BWI being open 24/7. However, restrictions such as needing a boarding pass to stay overnight and limited services during late-night hours pose challenges for overnight stays. The standard wheelchair accessibility is a plus, ensuring all travelers can navigate the airport.

Amenities at BWI show room for improvement. Mixed reviews on cleanliness, especially in critical areas like restrooms, and the complete absence of public shower facilities or luggage storage options negatively affect the overall amenity score. On the brighter side, BWI does well in providing basic amenities like Wi-Fi and charging stations, as well as food and beverage options that cater to late-night travelers.

The bonus feature of easy access to light rail directly from the terminals via a free shuttle bus to the Amtrak station enhances BWI’s attractiveness for travelers relying on public transportation.

In conclusion, BWI offers some commendable services for travelers looking to rest, such as sleep pods and proximity to day-use hotels, but significant gaps in sleep accommodations, ambient environment, and certain amenities hinder its overall sleep-friendliness. Improvements in lighting, noise control, and the addition of more comfortable seating and rest zones could greatly enhance the sleep experience at BWI.

FAQs

Can you sleep at BWI Airport?

Yes, you can sleep at BWI Airport, but it’s essential to be aware of certain details. The airport generally closes its security checkpoints from midnight until around 3:30 AM, restricting access to the airside during these hours.

Consequently, if you need to stay overnight, you will have to find a spot on the landside, which is not as comfortable or secure. The landside area is often noisy and can be chilly due to air conditioning, and some areas are frequented by homeless individuals, which may impact your sense of safety. Presence of homeless people is noted in a Feb 2023 review left on sleepinginairports.net here. It appears that cases of homeless people accessing BWI’s landside areas date back to 2018 before spread of COVID but CBS covered a story in December 2023 noting increased security at BWI.

However, amenities such as clean restrooms and Wellfound Foods vending machines are accessible. If you’re looking for more comfort, consider nearby hotels with shuttle services. Being prepared with earplugs, an eye mask, and a blanket can help make your overnight stay more bearable.


Image of Nathan Kip Rotich

Nathan helps travelers find the most comfortable sleep setups during layovers, from cozy airport hotels to futuristic sleep pods. His insights aim to transform layovers into rejuvenating sleepcations, offering travelers an alternative to costly hotels and uncomfortable benches.